Today, we continue sharing the writing of young women as we again call attention to the existence of the silent epidemic of violence against girls and young women raging across the United States – one that injures, demeans, oppresses and marginalizes girls from coast to coast. And yet, somehow, pushed by their will to survive, the courage to conquer another day and the resilience, grit and fortitude that is born out of determination to thrive they stand tall.

They speak out, they break the silence and they say, “No more.” It is their voices that must lead this growing movement for change. We must listen, act and be accountable. And so this week as part of our “We Are Not Invisible” Campaign dedicated to these women Warriors, TNCF is privileged to share with you this week – the expression of how they see the world through their own writing.

Today, it is our honor to share with you a poem, “Do You Understand,” written by Maui from Los Angeles, California.

Do you Understand?
My life ain’t really what is seems.
See I’m sittin here writing this, living a broken woman’s dream.
I was really out there hurtin.
But I ain’t tryin to be no body’s burden.
Bring you down, scare you, then having you hurtin.
I see the woman I can be.

Yet honestly no one fully believes in me.
Then I hear on the flip side I’ll make it to be.
Be what?
What you want me to be?

I have a baby girl who actually needs me.
Not the one you perceive me to be.
I’m going to take the time out to have you understand me.
Understand the inside of me.
Not the reflection you see.

Look I never understood me, loved me or even owned me.
I’m broken, I’m lost and confused.
Never driven just misused and abused.
Don’t know if you can relate to that.
If you do, I flip my invisible hat.

It’s funny that I say invisible because it’s how I feel when all I wanted was one real meal, maybe a hug or even a kiss,
Better yet to actually be missed.
I still don’t know if you understand.
I’m looking for a turning point for this shit to end.

So if you have a heart and are looking for a friend,
I swear I’ll hold your hand to the very end.

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Read Maui’s Story